In the fall, apples are simply irresistible -- and are available all year long. Pick your own or buy baskets full of rosy fruit. Everyone loves them raw and baked, but how about applesauce?
Homemade applesauce is delicious and kid-friendly. Just chop up the apples and cook them over low heat. Use a long-handled wooden spoon to stir them every now and then.
Kids learn simple knife skills while peeling, coring, and chopping the apples. They learn about low-heat cooking and how fruit softens as the moisture evaporates during cooking.
Depending on how sweet the apples are, add more or less sugar. A little lemon juice offsets the sugar, and the cinnamon perks up the overall flavor.
Kids will want to eat the applesauce for snacks or dessert. Serve it with gingersnaps or over ice cream. It's great with graham crackers or mixed into plain yogurt.
The sauce is excellent with pork chops and roast chicken.
Spoon cooled applesauce into individual-sized, freezer-safe plastic bags or containers. Freeze them for up to two months. Pack the frozen containers in lunchboxes - they thaw by lunchtime and keep other food cold.
The kids can count the apples and gauge their weight, figuring about five small or three medium apples to the pound.
If they want to peel the fruit, they won't have to strain it later. But if they leave the skins on, the sauce will be rosy.
Have the children assemble the equipment:
Have them assemble the ingredients:
- Paring knife for cutting the apples into quarters and for coring
- Cutting board
- Large saucepan and lid
- Wooden spoon
- Medium mesh strainer
Tossing a few strawberries or raspberries into the cooking apples adds color and sweetness.
- 15 small apples, washed
- Granulated sugar
- One fresh lemon
- Ground cinnamon
Be sure the kids understand how to hold the knife. If peeling the apple, try a vegetable peeler instead of a paring knife. For chopping, use a sturdy cutting board that does not slip.
Sharp knifes are safer than dull ones. There is less risk of accidents since they require less force.
Use oven mitts when handling the pan. Turn the pan's handle toward the back of the stove. Do not leave the wooden spoon in the pot.
Let the applesauce cool to lukewarm before tasting and straining.
Have fun - savor the tantalizing aroma of cooking applesauce!